Moroccan Role: Music Blog Woes & 1/31 - 2/06 Recap

Moroccan Role

A Totally Kiler Music/MP3 Blog.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Music Blog Woes & 1/31 - 2/06 Recap

Once in a while, updating this blog becomes a chore. I started this blog because I get excited when I hear good new music and I wanted to share this music with anyone who cares to experience it. A seemingly simple goal. But, somewhere along the way, I have developed a self-imposed goal (and the pressure that goes along with it) of trying to update nearly every day. This has had 2 distinct effects: the bands/music recommended on the blog sometimes being of questionable quality (but a free .Mp3 is easily deleted and thus this is not really a major concern) and, more importantly, I'm left trying to digest as music as I possibly can in an effort to recommend new stuff on a day to day basis. This makes it difficult to actually take the time to truly listen to the music I post.

I'm not exactly sure what's in store for this blog. There are a ton of other music blogs that offer much more in terms of the volume of music available for download...with these varying greatly in terms of how much of an effort they make in describing the music they post. From, "You should really check out X, they are just really great, and I really like them" to those who simply rip descriptions from press releases, record company bios, and other ridiculously overblown sources to those who make an effort to provide a somewhat objective portrait of the music while obviously coming from a fan's perspective (why else take the time to post about the band if you are not excited about the music). I have tried to make this blog fall into the third camp, but this has ensured that I will be physically unable to update 2 or 3 times daily.

There seems to be an epidemic of a "follow-the-leader" mentality in the music blogs...the leaders constantly updating and racing to be the first to post on the obscurest-of-the-obscure bands and countless others frantically trying to keep up. While everyone is obviously entitled to run their blogs how they see fit, there seems to be a lack of personality on the vast majority of music blogs. This is unfortunate because personality is what makes blogs interesting in the first place. It's sad but I have to admit that I find it increasingly fruitless to read the blurbs provided by music bloggers prior to downloading the tracks they post. They quite often say (nearly) exactly the same things and recommend almost identical artists. Why not simply use or some other .mp3 blog aggregator to locate all the tracks available from the particular artist and spare yourself the pedestrian dribble passed off as "insight" about the artist/song/album/whatever?

Now, I know I could be accused of "playa hating" and being unable to keep up with the most popular blogs. And, I concede--this very well may be the case. But, I guess the point of this diatribe is to put anyone who reads this blog on notice of a change in attitude for Moroccan Role. Updates may be more sporadic than before, but I will try to provide a bit more insight or at least make the blog more accurately reflect my opinions and personality.

With that out of the way, 40% (a plurality) of the lackluster 35 votes in the first ever Morccan Role Weekly Poll were for the Arctic Monkeys releasing the best album on 1/24 (to be fair the actual UK release date was 1/26 & the album doesn't see a US release until 2/21). And you guys were correct. While certainly not earth-shattering or in any way life-changing, it is a fun record with strong tunes throughout--40 very enjoyable minutes, perfect for hanging out and drinking with friends or to otherwise get your blood pumping. The studio polish on the album tracks in no way detracts from the quality of the tunes and no one besides those who are simply more accustomed to the demo versions would prefer these to the studio tracks. There is also a sense of urgency or excitement in their music...perhaps this is because these lads are actually excited about their music. In an indie scene plagued by ironic/disaffected posturing, shoegazing, and other crutches aimed at disguising the artists' insecurities, it is a breath of fresh air to hear actual (dare I say it) exuberence in modern indie rock.

Cat Power received 20% of the votes in the Poll and I'm somewhat confused by this. The record is more accurately described as "inoffensive" than a "Masterpiece" (Spin) or a "Triumph" (the Onion A.V. Club). It is coffee shop music for people who think they are too cool to listen to coffee shop music; Norah Jones (gasp!) for people who are too cool to listen to Norah Jones. Precisely the kind of music yupsters (hybrid: yuppie hipsters) will eat up like their Vitamin Water and Clif Bars.

Tunes from the blogs you may have missed last week:

Sufjan Stevens - "Opie's Funeral Song"
*from Mews Too: An Asthmatic Kitty Compliation (Sufjan's record label) due in stores tomorrow.

Morrissey - "I Will See You in Far Off Places"
*from the Moz's upcoming album Ringleader of the Tormentors.

The Secret Machines - "Alone, Jealous, & Stoned"
*from their upcoming album Ten Silver Drops.

Posted by: Matt


Anonymous Everett said...

I know how you feel; sometimes running (or in my case, contributing to) a blog can seem to be a pretty thankless task. Just writing to let you know that I appreciate the writers who are more thoughtful about their music reviews, as you seem to, and I would definitely group you in to that category, one that is admittedly smaller than it should be. I agree with a lot of your analysis of blogs today, what with the "franticly trying to keep up" sense that I get from many blogs. I personally only contribute a few times a week to Good Weather for Airstrikes (and the guy who runs it is getting critical of that), but I am a HUGE advocate of "quality over quantity" in blogging. You don't need to be the Stereogum, throwing up multiple posts a day of varying degrees of interest. Though the market for blogs that are well written and less oft-updated is decidely smaller, there is definitely a demand for what you're supplying, and what I try to supply as well. I realize this is a really long-winded comment, but I don't want to see one of the bloggers who seems to genuinely care about his music getting distressed about the state of his blog. My advice: don't worry about posting daily. Post the best music you can, and make your descriptions as original and interesting as possible, and if you can only manage to do that twice a week, then so be it. There will always be people like myself who will want to read what you have to say.

12:15 AM  
Anonymous Everett said...

Also, in my opinion The Elected's Sun, Sun, Sun and Rocky Votolato's Makers are better than The Greatest, though I'll probably end up thinking the Arctic Monkey's album is better than any of those three.

12:18 AM  
Anonymous craig said...

I'm in the same boat at Songs:Illinois. The only thing that seperates si from the pack is the fact that I'll never write about Arcade Fire, Arctic Monkeys or Cat Power and/or whoever is the next overhyped blog hero.

It doesn't seem that you (not "you" per se but the universal you) can compete with the blogs that have for whatever reason have been getting popular

9:57 AM  
Anonymous Eric Grubbs said...

Thanks for speaking up on this issue. You know my thoughts on this matter and it's good to know that I'm not alone on this.

If you go through the archives on my blog, you'll notice that the posts are more or less news links with short descriptions and random thoughts. It's all well and good to talk about what you're into, but I felt I wasn't getting my full point across. I wanted to explain things more explicitly, hence my blog today.

Keep up the good work Matt.

5:26 PM  
Anonymous mikejonze said...

less is more, my friend. less is more.

6:09 PM  
Anonymous thepsychicpilot said...

I completely agree with all of the opinions here. I’ve only been doing my blog for about 9 months, and only recently turned to doing all music posts. When I was a DJ for WVXU’s Nightwaves in the first half of the 90’s, I got great satisfaction out of sitting behind a microphone for 3-6 hours overnight on a weekend, playing new and hard to find, music that was not getting played anywhere else, on any other radio station in the Cincinnati area – not even by the mighty WOXY when it was still on the FM band. After Nightwaves got cancelled, I lost that outlet that I had. I had/have accumulated a vast library of music that is now sitting in my living room. I love it and cherish it, and am amazed that I have listened to every one of the thousands of CD’s in my living room. But I’m the only one listening to it. My point here is that I have this big catalog of music, and I want to share it, just like my days in radio. I don’t have the knowledge or the time to do my own webcast or podcast, and really have no desire to. Updating my blog once or twice a week, maybe more if I have the time, is a perfect way for me to share with you (the reader/listener) what I have, with the same goal – to turn you on to something that otherwise may never be heard. Like anything else, when it becomes a hassle or a burden for me or if I lose interest, then I’ll quit it. Until then, I’ll keep on posting. As far as the posts and the content go, I look at it the same way as when I was a DJ. No true music fan that I know likes to listen to a DJ on the radio and hear them ramble on and on about the latest happenings in a musician’s personal lives, etc. Sure I/we may have a lot of knowledge about bands and what they are up to, but that’s not the point. I’ll write up a little blurb here or there, sometimes I’ll post a picture and some songs and let them speak for themselves. But in the end, it’s the music that matters most.

Sorry for the rant as well. And thanks for what you have done with the Morrocan Role.

3:54 PM  
Anonymous supergurg said...

dont lose heart dude - somethings its the smaller blogs that have those true musical gems instead of rushed posts to keep up with The Jones' next door! lol

your blog is looking great :)

keep up the good work,

7:41 AM  

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